In 1911, Harriet Tubman moved into a home she had never imagined she would need herself: the Tubman Home for Aged and Indigent Negroes. The famed abolitionist had created the haven to lift up the poor and aging in her community. She hadn’t necessarily planned to spend her own final years there. But after a lifetime of seizures, headaches and narcoleptic attacks as a result of a childhood head trauma, she’d become increasingly frail at nearly 90 years of age.
Tubman, who was born into slavery, is famous for guiding hundreds of slaves to safer ground through the Underground Railroad in the 1800s following her own escape from bondage. But many of her numerous post-Civil War accomplishments to fight for the poor and vulnerable remain obscured. In addition to being an outspoken suffragist and co-founder of the NACW — the National Association of Colored Women — Tubman opened what some historians say was the first nursing home for aging Black people.
Image source: George Eastman Museum. Harriet Tubman at home and her friends. Residents of the Home for the Aged and Indigent Negroes. Auburn, N.Y.
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